A Game of Death



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July 17, 2018 at 03:53 PM



Jason Robards Sr. as Captain
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582.77 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 12 min
P/S 2 / 6
1.12 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 12 min
P/S 4 / 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by secondtake 5 / 10

Enjoyable, less than the remake, but a nice Robert Wise affair...

A Game of Death (1945)

A legendary big game hunter is shipwrecked and lands on an island where a reclusive man and his motley crew of servants has been trapping humans and hunting them like wild game. A great idea, and this movie is pretty good at making an entertainment about it.

It's not helpful to jump to the obvious, I suppose, but for those of us who have seen the two major versions of this sordid and contrived tale, the original short story is much better. In fact, the "The Most Dangerous Game" (as the Richard Connell story is called) has wit and drama and surprise, and an economy of telling, that makes it a classic and very readable still.

So this 1945 version of "The Most Dangerous Game" falls short partly because it doesn't want to be as chilling and scary as the story. For one thing, it adds a shade of romance to the thing which cheapens the real essence of the conflict. When our hero, played by John Loder, arrives he finds a pretty young woman (Audrey Long) and her brother are captives there from an earlier wreck, and so we all know the brother is expendable and the man and woman are likely to win the day and drive off in the sunset at the end.

Which ruins the point. The original has a tension of survival built in. It really does turn around the notion of the hunter becoming the hunted. The crazed hunter in this case, since it's 1945, is a German named Erich Kreiger (played by the very American actor Edgar Barrier, who came out of Orson Welles's Mercury players, and who played Banquo in the Welles MacBeth a couple years later).

While we are name dropping, the director is the young Robert Wise, who it might be said never made a bad film in his life, and who had his own start as an Orson Welles tagalong. Even here, where the thrust of it is watered down, there are so many visually terrific parts it is a thrill to watch. In particular are the night shots of the pursued couple in the jungle, with moving camera through the weeds presaging the more famous running shots of Kurosawa's "Rashomon." In fact, the whole movie is very well made and edited, clearly an intelligent technical achievement. On that level, you can watch it with real pleasure.

And the plot will just carry itself along. If you like this at all you should find the Joel McCrae and Fay Ray version from 1932, called "The Most Dangerous Game." It was shot partly on the "King Kong" sets at night when the more famous film crew was at home in bed, except Fay Ray, who of course was the heroine in both. It's essentially the same idea, with Max Steiner music, and it was here that the brother and sister were added to the Connell plot. You can also look for the very good Richard Widmark version, which has a very different feel and intention but ends up with the same hunter becoming hunted scenario, called "Run for the Sun" (1956), currently streamable on Netflix.

Reviewed by BaronBl00d 2 / 10

A Weak Film

Why RKO felt the need to remake The Most Dangerous Game 13 years later eludes me, but they did and really did so poorly. This film bears little resemblance to its forerunner except in the basic plot, which it even has the temerity to change in all the wrong places. Director Robert Wise, early in his career, has little to work with here. The script is shallow, the sets and budget very small...so small in fact that most of the chase scenes and scenes with dogs are from the 1932 version of the film. In point of fact, very little has been added here at all, except some third-rate performers(with the exception of Edgar Barrier in the Zaroff role) and some tedious and plotting scripting and direction. Noble Johnson is back...yes he was in the first film..and they even use footage of him from the earlier film looking completely different. Why? Oh well...I guess it was not suppose to be anything real good...and to be sure it does not even come close to being good. Do yourself a big favour and watch the original. That is a masterpiece!

Reviewed by MissSimonetta 5 / 10

If only Val Lewton were here...

As a remake of The Most Dangerous Game from 1932, A Game of Death (1945) suffers greatly in comparison. It simultaneously clings too close to the original picture, reusing lines, scenarios, and even footage, coming off as a largely shot for shot remake, and when it does add new elements to the story, they only drag down the pacing and economy of the movie. We have a whole fifteen minutes of dead screen time, where the characters know the villain's intentions and make a plan which ultimately fails. It's boring and pointless.

There's little style to the proceedings: everything is over-lit and lacks the proper horror atmosphere. Everything is watered down and there is no strong sense of suspense. The best parts of the climactic hunt, such as the cinematography, are taken straight from the 1932 film.

None of the actors top the original cast. Not that anyone is especially bad, but they're all rather bland and seem to phone things in.

The biggest difference is that Game was made after the Hayes Code started to be enforced in 1934, while The Most Dangerous Game was a pre-Code picture through and through. The hero in that film is almost as violent as the villain and the violence depicted is rather graphic for the time, unlike the bloodless stuff here. The original also makes the antagonist plans to subject the heroine to the proverbial "fate worse than death" much more explicit, though some of that is still present here in a more subtle manner.

A Game of Death is not a terrible movie, but seeing as it offers no fresh take on this story, it feels stale and pointless. You're better off with The Most Dangerous Game or Run for the Sun from 1956.

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